Festivals Thoughts

Sundance London 2013

Sundance London 2013

DAY ONE (April 25th)

Sundance London 2013 – Day 1 from Sundance London 2012 on Vimeo.

The Look of Love (Dir. Michael Winterbottom): After 24 Hour Party People (2002) Michael Winterbottom reunites with Steve Coogan for this biopic of the late Paul Raymond. The self-styled ‘King of Soho’ made his fortune with gentleman’s clubs, erotic magazines and property but his great wealth was underscored by personal tragedy.

Coogan brings a huge amount of charisma to his role, but he is backed up by a fine supporting cast including Anna Friel, Tamsin Egerton, Chris Addison and especially Imogen Poots, who excels as his troubled daughter. Winterbottom deftly manages to balance humour and the film makes good use of real life locations in Soho.

DAY TWO (April 26th)

Sundance London 2013 – Day 2 from Sundance London 2012 on Vimeo.

Blood Brother (Dir. Steve Hoover): An enlightening and at times harrowing documentary about a filmmaker following his best friend (Rocky Braat) as he returns to a hostel in India for young children with HIV. Whilst it doesn’t break any new ground stylistically, the engaging central figure and rawness of the story makes for compelling viewing.

It is rare to see filmmakers adopt a such an extreme verite approach, but what initially starts off as a traditional narrative soon becomes something more unexpected. One scene in particular during the final third may raise questions about the moral line between documentarians and their subjects.

DAY THREE (April 27th)

Sundance London 2013 – Day 3 from Sundance London 2012 on Vimeo.

The Kings of Summer (Dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts): One staple of US indie films, is the coming of age tale. This one follows three disaffected boys (Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias) in a rural Ohio town as they run away from home and try to settle in the woods.

Despite the over familiar setting – and a considerable debt to Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me (1986) – it manages to effectively capture the humour and frustration of those teenage years. This is mostly down to Vogt-Roberts nice eye for location and a solid ensemble cast, which includes a stand out turn from Nick Offerman from TV’s Parks and Recreation.

DAY FOUR (April 28th)

Sundance London 2013 – Day 4 from Sundance London 2012 on Vimeo.

Mud (Dir. Jeff Nichols): Interesting US directors outside the LA/New York axis have been rare in recent years. A notable exception has been Arkansas native Jeff Nichols. With his first two films, Shotgun Stories (2007) and Take Shelter (2011), he has firmly established himself as a distinct voice.

His latest comes soaked in the storytelling tradition of the Deep South, mainly Huckleberry Finn, as two young boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland) come across a stranger named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) who is hiding on an island in the Mississippi river. Strong performances abound from McConaughey, Sheridan, Reese Witherspoon and Sam Shepherd, but it is the confident writing and directing that really mark this out as another chapter in the career of Nichols.

Upstream Color (Dir. Shane Carruth): Ever since his remarkable debut Primer (2004) scooped the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, people have been wondering what had happened to its writer/director Shane Carruth. The answer appears to have been a period of long development hell, but his second feature is well worth the wait. If you were baffled by Primer then be prepared for this film.

Just describing it is hard as it eschews conventional notions of plot but the basic premise revolves around a woman (Amy Seimetz) who comes across a man (Shane Carruth) who may or may not have the answers to a recent trauma she’s undergone. Imagine if David Lynch and Terrence Malick remade Memento (2000) and you might get some idea of the haunting puzzle box Carruth has crafted. The performances, visuals and score all combine to dazzling effect, and it is hard to recall a more mysterious and original film.

Sundance London
> Connect with them on Facebook ( and Twitter (@sundancefestUK)
> More on the history of the Sundance Film Festival and The O2 at Wikipedia

Festivals Interesting

Jeffrey Blitz talks about his new documentary Lucky

Jeffrey Blitz is the director of Spellbound (2002), Rocket Science (2007) and the upcoming documentary Lucky, which screens at the Sundance film festival later this month.


Sundance 2009: Festival Wrap Roundtable


Sundance 2009: The Awards and After Party


Sundance 2009: The Full List of Award Winners

Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is over for another year and here is the full list of winners at the audience and jury awards, presented on Saturday in Park City, Utah.

  • Grand jury, U.S. drama: Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire
  • Audience, U.S. drama: Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire
  • Grand jury, U.S. documentary: We Live in Public
  • Audience, U.S. documentary: The Cove
  • Grand jury, world cinema drama: The Maid (La Nana)
  • Audience, world cinema drama: An Education
  • Grand jury, world cinema documentary: Rough Aunties
  • Audience, world cinema documentary: Afghan Star
  • Waldo Salt screenwriting award: Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi, Paper Heart
  • Directing, U.S. drama: Cary Joji Fukunaga, Sin Nombre
  • Directing, U.S. documentary: Natalia Almada, El General
  • Directing, world cinema drama: Oliver Hirschbiegel, Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Directing, world cinema documentary: Havana Marking, Afghan Star
  • Screenwriting, world cinema drama: Guy Hibbert, Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Editing, U.S. documentary: Karen Schmeer, Sergio
  • Editing, world cinema documentary: Janus Billeskov Jansen and Thomas Papapetros, Burma VJ
  • Cinematography, U.S. drama: Adriano Goldman, Sin Nombre
  • Cinematography, U.S. documentary: Bob Richman, The September Issue
  • Cinematography, world cinema drama: John De Borman, An Education
  • Cinematography, world cinema documentary: John Maringouin, Big River Man
  • Special jury prize for originality, world cinema drama: Louise-Michel, directed by Benoit Delepine and Gustave de Kervern
  • Special jury prize, world cinema documentary: Tibet in Song, Ngawang Choephel, director
  • Special jury prize for acting, world cinema: Catalina Saavedra, “The Maid (La Nana)”
  • Special jury prize, U.S. documentary: Good Hair, Jeff Stilson, director
  • Special jury prize for spirit of independence: Humpday
  • Special jury prize for acting: Mo’Nique, Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire
  • Jury prize, U.S. short filmmaking: Short Term 12, Destin Daniel Cretton, director
  • Jury prize, international short filmmaking: Lies, (Dir. Jonas Odell)
  • Alfred P. Sloan prize: Adam, (Dir. Max Mayer)

Official website for the Sundance Film Festival
A list of previous Sundance winners at Wikipedia